Drupal from a non technical perspective

Are you new to Drupal? This one's for you.
Drupal Content Listing Page

Hey there! I’m Anissa a Junior Digital Producer here at Digital Garden. I’m relatively new to the digital workspace and as the days go on I’m really learning so much in terms of web design and development. The core of what we do here at Digital Garden is based on Drupal development.

The reason I am writing this blog post is to help describe and explain Drupal from a non technical perspective for those who don’t have a technical background or are new to the digital workspace like myself.

What is Drupal?

This is probably the best place to start, what exactly is Drupal? Well funny that you ask, Drupal is a very popular open source content management platform that powers millions of websites and applications out there in the world today. 

One aspect that makes Drupal so great is the community behind it. The way that they build, use, maintain and support it all around the world just shows how involved users are in trying to make Drupal the best open source content management platform in the out there.

The scalability of Drupal is also another attractive factor in its popularity. The Drupal platform has the scalability and flexibility to for you to build any type of website you desire, from small sized personal blogs to enterprise applications. I’ve read a couple of articles online and they describe Drupal as being ‘future friendly’ as it has the ability to add as many modules now and in the future as you want. There is plenty of room for you to grow!

Drupal Approach

Drupal adopts a modular tool kit approach. When Drupal is downloaded and installed, out of the box it’s really just a skeleton and bare bones for your website. To create the website you want would require you installing and configuring some modules for example what you see is what you get (WYSIWYG) editors for uploading content.

This tool kit approach is really great as it allows you to extend and customise Drupal functionality with a wide range of contributed modules available. This gives a sense of uniqueness to each website that is created on Drupal.

If there isn’t a module out there that you need or there is one that doesn’t quite do what you want it to do, you can join forces and collaborate with the module maintainers. You can also create and share your own module. 

First Impressions and Simplicity 

I first experienced Drupal here at Digital Garden on my first day. I had heard the name Drupal back at university but never really knew what it was and used it until I started working here.

Upon first login I would say I was a little bit overwhelmed and confused at what I was looking at in the backend, in terms of features, functionality and options. But after 20 - 30 minutes of having a look through and play around, I felt like I had gotten used to the basic navigation of the CMS.

Understanding the basic Drupal language is crucial in operating and working with the CMS. A Drupal 7 usability study was conducted with 8 Google employees in 2012 and it was revealed that terminology was one of the most common issues for new users of Drupal. For someone who has never heard of Drupal before it would be quite confusing if you didn’t understand the basic terminology behind it. So what also really helped me was finding the Drupal terminology list on Drupal.org and going through it during the initial Drupal introduction process. This helped me get the gist of the Drupal language which was really useful especially for a new Drupal user. I was then able to make my way around the backend with basic knowledge of what everything meant.

To me there is a simplistic element in Drupal’s user interface which makes it quite easy for me to navigate as well as add, edit and delete content.

The main use case of a CMS such as Drupal is to create, publish, edit, organise and delete content. From a non technical perspective, I found that the user interface for completing these tasks is quite intuitive and user friendly. You’ll find that this is the case as Drupal core developers do have a long history of making user experience improvements.

So with all that being said, I think that Drupal is a great CMS platform and I totally stand behind it. If you’re new to Drupal, you’ll probably be overwhelmed and a little confused as I was, but I recommend that you just have a play around and investigate it to see what it does, this will help you get the general idea of how every thing works.

Also a little homework doesn’t hurt anybody, if you are new to Drupal I recommend that you have a read over the Drupal terminology/glossary found on Drupal.org. This will help you tremendously in understanding and utilising Drupal to its fullest.